That’s the way the cookie crumbles

Broadway Events senior marketing executive Kara Neill (pictured below) says that with the death of third-party cookies coming next year, it will be more important than ever for marketers to know exactly who their customers are... and what they want

Kara NeillWith the changeover to Analytics 4 on the horizon and the passing of third-party cookies, marketers need to start getting comfortable with relying on first-party data to shape ad targeting, personalisation and the digital customer experience. 

Understanding who our customers are has never been more important. It’s time to focus on analysing the first-party data we already have and spend time collecting more. You can start doing this by looking at the digital touchpoints between your events and customers, tracking their interactions with your products (website, SMS, emails etc.)

Surveys, questionnaires and interviews can also provide a considerable amount of insight, which you can do face to face, over the phone or digitally. When you have a better understanding of your customers by building up this data, you can start to rely on these understandings to influence personalised advertising – without cookies.

Moving forward and as we start to rely more on the data we can collect from direct customer interactions, more time must be spent convincing them to interact in the first place. To influence this, ensure your strategy relies heavily on customer relationship building.

Hopefully, events companies should already be prioritising this within their business strategies. Obtaining new visitors each event is vital however those who return can make the difference. This loyalty can be earnt from putting on a successful show but also by working at building direct and personal relationships with our visitors. So how can we get them to trust us? 

Firstly, complete transparency is a must. When trying to attain new data, it needs to be clear what the customer is signing up to, displaying an up-to-date and accessible privacy policy.

Secondly, when someone makes the decision to hand over their data - provide them with a valuable exchange. Reach out to your customers directly. We saw that visitors were worried about financial stability, keeping up with industry changes and the lack of government support. They needed connection, to share experiences and feel united.

This influenced a re-brand of our strapline that put emphasis on the show being a ‘home’, a comforting and uplifting space where you would leave as part of a community. We extended this tone throughout our marketing, putting more focus on the networking and support. We removed promotional wording around being ‘the biggest’ or ‘the best’ because at the end of the day – our visitors don’t find value in these words.

We introduced newsletters that provide relevant sector updates and created an exclusive site where all year round, visitors can access free resources, exclusive offers and rewards. We keep hold of our customers by providing this value, maintaining a solid presence at all times and offering them the support that they feel the sector lacks.

Now when someone makes the decision to share their information with us, it’s clear that it will be worth it.